BREAKING: Nifa SHS blocks 71 students from writing WASSCE on ‘truancy’ charge

Authorities of the Nifa Senior High School (SHS) at Adukrom in the Okere District of the Eastern Region have disallowed a total of 71 final year students from writing the ongoing West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) over allegation that they played truancy.

The 71 students -55 boys and 16 girls – comprised of 40-day students and 31 boarders who are mostly General Arts and Visuals Arts students.

According to the information posted on the school’s notice board and dated 18th July, the 71 students did not meet the threshold of class attendance during study periods, and for that matter, they could not qualify to sit for the final examinations.

The notice which was addressed to staff, parents, and students contained that the 71 students had exhibited a “high level of truancy” and that 12 of them left the school unceremoniously and their whereabouts could not be traced.

The notice also indicated that 40 of the “truant” students absented themselves ranging from 405 to 616 teaching periods out of the total of 621 periods in their three-year studies.

It finally notified that 19 of the 71 students also absented themselves ranging from 194 to 396 periods out of the 621 periods.

The school authorities, therefore, decided that, based on the attendance statistics, they would not permit those 71 to sit for the final exams until the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) had ordered otherwise.

However, there has not been any communique from the outfit of the GES Director-General apart from one that he issued on June 9, 2022, stating what should be the punishment for such “truant” students.

The D-G’s communique cited by GhanaWeb read, “Students and parents should be made aware that these sanctions can be applied:

1. Deboardinization
2. Writing the examination under police/parent escort
3. WAEC not admitting them to the examination center to write the papers.”

The Director-General’s communique also urged “school authorities to report any criminal acts of students to the Ghana Police Service (GPS) for investigation and subsequent prosecution.”

It also directed that students under police investigation during the period of BECE and WASSCE would be allowed to write their papers under police escort.

The Director-General finally directed in the communique that “Students with disciplinary issues in the school can only come to the examination centres accompanied by their parents.”

GhanaWeb Eastern Regional Correspondent, McAnthony Dagyenga, gathered that even though the students were barred from the exams, they did not receive any form of punishment for their crime and those who were boarders had not also been deboardinised but still enjoyed their boarding statues.

The WASSCE commenced on Monday, August 1, 2022, but the 71 students have been left to their fate with some loitering around the school compound and hoping that they might be allowed into the exam halls to join their mates to sit for their practicals.

Some of the 71 students narrated their ordeal to GhanaWeb Eastern Regional Correspondent and appealed to the government to urgently come to their aid since their future is virtually being denied them.

“I’m appealing to the government to do something on our behalf because this is going to affect my future. This is my future.”

“It is going to disturb me. I completed JHS in 2016. It was difficult for me to go to school (SHS). Because of Free SHS, I was able to come to school,” one of the affected students said.

Another student, a boarder, also narrated that he brought his parents to the school but the Headmaster, Dr. Phillip Victor Akoto, did not listen to their plea and insisted that he would not allow the student to write the final examination.

“That’s why I am appealing to the government to come in to help us,” he said.

Meanwhile, a guardian, Emmanuel Awuku Appiadu, who had two of his wards denied access to write their examination, has raised concerns, stating that, the parents have never received any notice from the school concerning their wards being truants.

He again raised that the school had also not notified parents about any disciplinary actions taken against their children about any criminal or disciplinary charges.

“So, it is strange for us to hear all of a sudden that our wards are not going to be allowed to write their final examination because of truancy,” Appiadu expressed.

When GhanaWeb approached the Headmaster, he uttered, “I don’t talk to people like you,” he snubbed and walked off.

Meanwhile, when contacted, the Eastern Regional Public Relations Officer of the GES, Mr. Asiedu Acheampong, said the regional GES office has not received information on the matter from authorities of Nifa SHS.